Unstructured is - well, information that is not structured. While is a somewhat glib definition, it is entirely accurate. But, for those that prefer a more academic version - here is the one we came up with for our practice. Unstructured information (UI) is any document, file, image, report, form, etc. that has no defined, standard structure that would enable convenient storage in unit record or similar automated processing devices; it cannot be defined in terms of rows and columns or records; and the data cannot be examined with standard unit record access.

UI is important because it comprises from 75 to 90 percent of an organization's useful information. Few, if any decisions or actions are enacted solely on the presentation of structured data. A plant operator always combines the structured facts with intuition, experience and the laminated "cheat sheet" tacked to the wall. The manager applies experience, context and market politics as well as the metrics presented on a report.

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